We all think of Gatorade as a sports beverage, right? Well, the company is becoming much more than that with the help of technology. At the Gatorade Sports Science Institute in Florida, the company tests out new product ideas and analyzes performance data in real time.
Professional athletes come to the institute every day and are asked to play and sweat and do all the things extremely fit people usually do. Then, Gatorade’s doctors and scientists investigate their performance. The participants are hooked up to large, expensive machines that track energy intake, sweat rate, even a person’s fat and muscle mass, to understand what’s happening at a molecular level. With this, the company is able to understand what products work and what products don’t–as well as understand how different athletes’ bodies respond to different conditions.
All of this research is used to help shift Gatorade’s business model. The company behind the beloved electrolyte-rich drink wants to create a platform that will give athletes personalized recommendations for products that enable peak performance. Gatorade’s GX Sweat Patch is one new product that does just that: It’s a small adhesive that’s affixed to athletes and tests their sweat for nutrition recommendations. By gaining insights about athletes’ physical performance and response at the Institute, Gatorade was able to make a small sticky product that provides individual product personalization for its customers.
Fast Company recently got to check out the institute to get an inside glimpse of the futuristic program in action. We watched athletes play sports and get hooked up to fancy equipment to be analyzed by a crack team of mad scientists. We also talked with the institute’s director, James Carter, as well as its head of innovation and design, Xavi Cortadellas, who explained how they built the program up and why they do what they do. The state-of-the-art facility is a perfect example of how a brand can use science and technology to stay relevant in the 21st century.
Take look at our 360-degree tour of the Gatorade sports science institute to see exactly how the brand is making products for the next generation of professional and amateur athletes.